By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 12, 2022

If you are injured by somebody’s actions, you may be able to recover damages. In this article, we’ll define what it means to legally recover something and explain how it applies to different areas of law including personal injury, auto accidents, DUI law, and medical malpractice.

Key Takeaways

  • In law, to recover is to receive a money judgment in a lawsuit
  • Money recovered in a lawsuit is called damages
  • Damages are monetary compensation for losses and injuries suffered
  • A plaintiff can recover both monetary and non-monetary damages

What Is Recover?

In law, to recover means to receive a money judgment in a lawsuit. The money one recovers is referred to as damages. The objective of most civil lawsuits is to recover damages.

Damages are a monetary awards intended to replace or compensate for the losses and injuries suffered by the plaintiff in a case. They can be awarded for both monetary and non-monetary losses.

Monetary damages include things like:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage

Non-monetary damages include things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Recover in Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law allows people who suffered harm from an accident or injury to be compensated by the party who was at fault. Types of situations in which you might file a personal injury lawsuit include

  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Construction site accidents
  • Police misconduct
  • Product liability
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Defamation of character


Types of damages that you can recover in personal injury cases include:

  • Emergency and urgent care
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic care
  • Prescription medications
  • Live-in caregivers
  • Disability accommodations
  • Mobility devices
  • Treatment supplies
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Wages lost while recovering
  • Pain and suffering

Recover in Auto Accidents

Auto accidents are a specific type of personal injury case in which the injury is caused by a driver on the road. These lawsuits are usually brought against drivers whose negligence caused a collision. Examples of negligent behavior that can lead to auto accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to heed road signs
  • Driving too fast or slow
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Driving an unsafe vehicle

Types of damages that you can recover in auto accident cases include:

  • Surgery costs
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Ambulance rides
  • Rides to and from the hospital
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Medical device costs
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Therapy or rehabilitation bills
  • At-home care costs
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering

Recover in DUIs

DUIs are a specific type of auto accident case in which the at-fault driver was driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, causing a collision. These cases are usually much easier to win because it is simpler to prove negligence when there is physical evidence that one party was intoxicated.

The damages that you can recover in DUI cases are the same as those you can recover in auto accident cases in general.

Recover in Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice refers to situations in which healthcare professionals fail to meet the duty of care that they owe to their patients, causing injury or loss. Examples of situations that would qualify as medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Surgical errors
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Poor aftercare
  • Premature discharge
  • Disregarding patient history
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Failure to recognize symptoms

Damages that you can recover in medical malpractice cases include:

  • Medical care costs
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Custodial care
  • Loss of earnings
  • Future medical and care expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity 
  • Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
  • Physical impairment and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of care, companionship, love, and affection
  • Burial expenses

Featured Personal Injury Lawyers

Law Offices of Scott D. Hughes

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